Hello folks, how's it hanging this week? The year is racing by - already mid September and time for our annual late summer holiday. This year I picked Prague - a quick two hour flight from Birmingham, and somewhere we'd been before and loved. Also, as we had done the sight seeing bit in great detail last time, we could relax and take things at our own pace this visit. It's sometimes quite liberating, not having to dance to the beat of a tourist company's drum, and we're lucky enough to live close enough to these fabulous places and can visit them a second time.
Before I went, I finished Oriana, another piece in my little series of leather jewellery. I embroidered around a number of Swarovski Rivolis with colourful seed beads with a tiny needle and then attached them to the gold leather. Oriana is a Latin/Italian word meaning 'Golden'. The Ballad of Oriana is a beautiful poem by Alfred Tennyson about a woman who gets killed by a ricocheting arrow as she watches her lover in fight. Do have a read if you find a moment, it is truly lovely. I think my necklace gives its namesake a run for her money.
I haven't had the time to edit my pictures from Prague as I only arrived back in the UK this evening. The flight was delayed and we are exhausted from all the waiting around. I'll tell you all about it next week.
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello friends once again, how nice to hear from you again. The days are flying by and the chill of autumn is beginning to bite, no matter how much I try to ignore it and continue to go out in sandals and summer dresses. We are in Britain hoping for an Indian Summer but frantically shaking the creases out of our cardigans and taking our winter woolies out of mothballs.
I showed you a piece of bead embroidery I was making over the last couple of weeks and it was finally ready to use. I am trying out a new little collection of leather necklaces and bracelets, with embroidery and beads and gemstones. I hope you will like them as I unveil them week by week. I have one for you today, and will have a second in a couple of weeks. It is a rather work intensive endeavour, but nothing good comes easily and I'm happy to put in the effort to make one of a kind pieces, that even I wouldn't try to replicate.
As you can see, the necklace doesn't sit quite right on the plastic model, probably because It has no back to it - which is why I tried it on myself, and I can tell you, it is soft and comfortable, and I love it. The black slab of agate is surrounded by tiny silvery beads and crystals and at the tip is the tail of the comet, shooting off coloured marquise crystals into a dark night sky.
Aurelia is a necklace made with a pendant and beads I picked up in Bangkok. The pendant is made of old sea glass, and the beads are gently faceted pear shaped chalcedony in a sea foam green. I've added baroque pearls and electroplated ceramic cornflake beads from Greece. Aurelia is a name of Latin origin meaning "the golden one". Aurelia is the shimmering female form of the Roman classic Aurelius, and was very common in the Roman Empire and is also the name of Julius Caesar's mother. It means 'shimmering' and golden, and I think that's quite an apt name for this piece.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello good people wherever you are. I hope you've all had a fabulous week and are gearing up to enjoy the weekend. This is probably the end of a very short, rubbishy summer in the UK - we've had about 10 days of sunshine this year. But Hey, Christmas will soon be here, so there's something to look forward to. There, I've used the 'C' word and find that there are just 117 days left, OMG, OMG!!
I've been ever so busy at work these last few weeks, it seems like the September rush of babies has arrived early - I just hope we've broken the back of it and that consequently, September will be less manic than usual.
This is the only piece I had the time to finish and that is only because I started it last weekend, before the day job intervened. It was fabulously sunny and warm, and predictably, I made a piece of jewellery with flowers in it. I do hate being so predictable.
Orchids have some of the most beautiful flowers and I once nurtured ambitions of growing them in my conservatory - that was before I started to make jewellery and photography equipment had not taken over every inch of free space. Kind people often bring me an orchid when they visit, the kind you can get in supermarkets and Marks and Spencers. However, my husband has absolutely no clue about indoor plants, let alone orchids, and sets about killing them with kindness, over watering them until the poor things groan and keel over, dead as door knobs.
The four strands of faceted chalcedony beads are an interesting shade of blue and I opted for a contrast with the little red centres of the diamante orchids.
I started a piece of bead embroidery around a slab of agate and hope to have it finished over the weekend. The picture was taken last night, and the piece has advanced somewhat since then. Every bead is double stitched onto the backing piece of felted ard using Fireline - this is a microfused braided nylon thread which can carry a weight of eight pounds without snapping. More to come next week.
That's me for this week, people. Have a great week, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how's tricks today? The sun is shining, it is warm and it is a Bank Holiday weekend - what more could one ask for! Music and dance? I'm getting some of that too this weekend - we have tickets to a production of Singin' in the Rain which ought to be good. I've even finished my marathon project and decided to call it 'Putting on the Ritz' after the song I have posted below. There are many versions of the song, originally written in the 20's by Irving Berlin. I love the one with Fred Astaire performing to it, and the one with Gene Wilder in the fabulous movie, 'Young Frankenstein'. Taco brought it back to life in 1983 and this is the song I've played for you. Putting on the RItz means to dress in a swanky manner - and I'm sure you'll agree that my necklace is deserving of the name - put it on and you'll surely be swanky indeed!
The pendant is made in the fashion of the swingin' 20's in an art deco style. I learned so many techniques in the making of this piece. I knew what I wanted to produce, but didn't know how I was going to achieve this. In today's world with the internet at our disposal and so many kind people sharing their techniques and methodology, I researched each part of the necklace is great detail and made it bit by bit, which is why it took ages. The central strip was the easiest with the 3 cabochons surrounded by black seed beads. I then had to make the four tubes of blue beads, attach them to one another and to the centrepiece, make them stiff so that they didn't flop about or get squashed on wearing them, add jade dangles, make the necklace itself around a form, and attach the pendant to it. Phew!!
Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Living its golden years in the period between two biggest global conflicts.
Art Deco was one of the most elegant and glamorous styles in modern art history. Between 1920’s and 1940’s Art Deco was embraced by many artists regardless of the field they were working in, from architecture and interior design to painting, sculpture, ceramics, fashion and jewelry. At the interwar period, Art Deco patterns were a synonym for modernist ideas of progress, optimistic celebrations of life and a luxurious lifestyle of a generation of youth, coming of age after the war. Art Deco aesthetics and heritage continues to live today.
The stepped profile is the epitome of the art deco shape, found everywhere from uplighters to picture surrounds. Zigzags, chevrons and lightning bolts are also common elements.
Art Deco was associated with both luxury and modernity; it combined very expensive materials and exquisite craftsmanship put into modernistic forms. Nothing was cheap about Art Deco: pieces of furniture included ivory and silver inlays, and pieces of Art Deco jewelry combined diamonds with platinum, jade, and other precious materials. The style was used to decorate the first-class salons of ocean liners, deluxe trains, and skyscrapers, and still exists today - the Savoy Hotel in London is a prime example.
Art Deco objects often showcase simple, clean shapes, usually with a “streamlined” look.
Art Deco figurines embodied the new sophistication and self confidence of women after the First World war, and made the female dancer and femininity the theme. They are usually bronze and fetch hundreds of pounds when sold. I have a couple in Bohemia glass which live on my mantle-piece and people who go near my precious objet d'art are on pain of death to ensure that they remain in one piece. I carried them back in my hand luggage all the way from Prague - anyone who knows me will know that I do not do hand luggage!
Putting on the Ritz
This was one helluva project, but I loved every moment of it (except when it was at the fugly stage). If ever there was a labour of love, it is this one.
The other piece I completed over the weekend was a necklace for my friend - she didn't much care for the one I made last week with the agate beads she carried back from Italy. I remade the pendant using instructions from Nicole Hanna, and put a necklace together to her specifications. I like the original as I think it is more colourful - but what matters most is that she likes the second one, as she's the one who will wear it. I'll leave you to pick your favourite of the two.
I will reuse the pendant in another piece some day. That's me for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,
Hello people, how are you. It is raining outside, and the clouds are grey and the sky threatening more rain. Added to that my knee is giving me a bit of gypp. So, not much to celebrate here, then! Why do I feel all excited and smiley in spite of this? Well, I caught sight of the Pantone colours for fashion for the autumn of 2019 today - and they are rich and vibrant, very me, very Caprilicious. Usually I look at the predictions and go "Pshaw!!", and carry on with my own colour combinations. I simply cannot seem to create in colours that resemble fust, must, or dust! I just get creative constipation and the ideas wont flow one little bit. Now rust is another matter, I love the oranges and burnt sugar colours that come from the oxidation of iron. This week I made a couple of necklaces in the Pantone colours for 2019, even before I knew what they were. Prescient, or what??
Autumn/Winter 2019/2020 colours reflect a new level of colour complexity; sophisticated and strong; a meaningful palette of colour that empowers and instills confidence. Displaying endlessly varied combinations, colour stories exhibit a mix of nuances, creating the feeling of freedom to create one’s own personalised identity.
Rich tones, indeed, and the words 'confidence and empowerment' are close to my heart as that is what Caprilicious sets out to do. Strong women who express themselves freely are in the majority in the Caprilicious Tribe, and the rest of is made up of ladies who use my jewellery as a sort of armour, something to aid them in their quest for self confidence. Either way, the word 'empowerment' is fitting in the context of statement jewellery in general and Caprilicious, most definitely.
Agate is a rock consisting primarily of crystalline silica, alternating with microgranular quartz. It is characterized by its fineness of grain and variety of color. Most agates occur as nodules in volcanic rocks or ancient lava in former cavities produced by volatile gases in the original molten mass. They were then filled by siliceous matter deposited in regular layers upon the walls. Agate has also been known to fill veins or cracks in rock. Such agates, when cut transversely, exhibit a succession of parallel lines, giving a banded appearance to the section. Many agates are hollow, when deposition has not proceeded far enough to fill the cavity, and in such cases the last deposit commonly consists of druzy quartz, with the apices of the crystals directed towards the free space so as to form a crystal-lined cavity or geode.
One of my customers picked up a graduated string of the most beautifully banded peach and cream coloured agate on a visit to Pompeii, and my instructions were 'do something with them.' Such an ambiguous instruction can be nerve wracking, but hey, I'm always up for a challenge.
The lady in question is quite exacting in her requirements and isn't keen on the asymmetrical vibe that Caprilicious brings to the table, but yet likes my jewellery. I generally have to remake a few elements of my jewellery to suit her but I'm always accepting of the 'customer's always right' (even when I think she's wrong) dictum so I go along with it.
The beads are graduated but the depth of colour does not follow the graduation. Another problem when attempting to make a non asymmetrical piece. I decided to follow the graduation in the bead size rather than the colouring and see what transpired.
The paler beads are almost cream and I sought to raise the colour quotient with a copper wire pendant made from one of Nicole Hannas designs. The addition of little gold tone seed beads and a matching clasp finished the necklace but the central piece looked dull when I added a creamy round agate from my stash, so I replaced it with blue/green crystals. I tried an orange tone teardrop, but this mango yellow bead seemed to do better in both raising the colour stakes and in coordinating with the main agate beads in the necklace.
The large central beads remained unused, so I put them into a simple piece on a memory wire so that the necklace sits close to the neck like a torque necklace. A contrast with gently faceted blue colour enhanced jade beads and silver tone spacers completes the piece.
Once again, the symmetry of the bead sizes had to be paramount rather than the colour variation.
As for the Unfinished Business from last week - it remains unfinished, although I've made one more of the beaded tubes during the week.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello good people, wherever you are, thanks for joining me today. This week I've had a couple of days off work, after the rigours of entertaining friends for a few weekends on the trot. Our house is usually pretty quiet with just the cat for company. I like it that way, probably because I have to talk to people all day, every day at the day job, and it is nice to come home to peace and quiet. However, a few times a year we have an unaccustomed burst of activity and I thoroughly enjoy myself.
I started an art deco pendant and it is just now at the very fugly stage of its existence. This is the worst place to be in as it is hard to muster up the will to pick it back up of an evening. I'm not sure why I chose a most complicated design that will take the longest possible time to craft - there must be something masochistic in my genetic makeup. Added to that, I get bored easily and a design that is repetitive to say the least isn't the most inspiring of enthusiasm. So it's at the point where it ain't looking good, and it is definitely getting boring, and I'm counting the days till it will be finished, yet, I don't feel like picking it up to work on it. Very, very frustrating, indeed!
In between times, and while I was waiting for the Miyukis to arrive, I made a couple of simple little commissioned necklaces.
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,
Hello folks, is it August already? Omigawd, where, oh where has the year gone?! The summer has been rubbish this year - unless of course it redeems itself by giving us full on sunshine this month. One can but hope.
I was walking past the park near my house and saw a freak ray of sunshine light up the rainwater dripping from the shrubs - that was the inspiration for the necklace I made this week. Four strands of citrine beads, each one accented by a champagne coloured baroque pearl, with spacers from Greece - little plump electroplated ceramic square beads. I found the baroque pearls in Bangkok and couldn't resist them, each one is almost 1.8 to 2 cms in size, irregularly shaped, and quite beautiful.
A little clasp made of mother of pearl in the shape of a flower was a fitting finishing touch, don't you think?
I have been embroidering beads onto a piece of felt, and that will eventually become an art deco pendant - it isn't ready to be revealed yet. That's me for this week, folks. I have friends from school coming to stay with me this weekend so may not have the time to do much beading.
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you doing today. This week in the UK the weather God has smiled on us - I only hope he keeps on smiling for another couple of days - I'm about to host 25 people for my annual barbecue. If you didn't know already, junior doctors up and down the UK all move to their new posts on a rotation of at least seven hospitals in their trainee career, and there is now a fixed day for all this mayhem to occur - the first Wednesday in August! I urge you all to take care of your health and not go near a hospital in the first two weeks in August as it is pretty chaotic, with only the consultants manning the fort.
Anyway, our juniors leave us as well, and I've been hosting their leaving do for over 15 years now, so much so that everyone knows in the West Midlands that the barbecue in held in my little garden on the last Saturday of July.
This is a video making the rounds in some of the jewellery groups I'm a member of and I thought it was sufficiently interesting enough to post in my blog for you to take a look at - all this sounds like hard, not to mention dusty work! Oh Dear!
Somewhere in the cosmos, a star is reaching the end of its life. Maybe it’s a massive star, collapsing under its own gravity. Or maybe it’s a dense cinder of a star, greedily stealing matter from a companion star until it can’t handle its own mass.
Whatever the reason, this star doesn’t fade quietly into the dark fabric of space and time. It goes kicking and screaming, exploding its stellar guts across the universe, leaving us with unparalleled brightness and a tsunami of particles and elements. It becomes a supernova.
In 185 AD, Chinese astronomers noticed a bright light in the sky. Documenting their observations in the Book of Later Han, these ancient astronomers noted that it sparkled like a star, appeared to be half the size of a bamboo mat and did not travel through the sky like a comet. Over the next eight months this celestial visitor slowly faded from sight. They called it a “guest star.”
Two millennia later, in the 1960's, scientists found hints of this mysterious visitor in the remnants of a supernova approximately 8000 light-years away. The supernova, SN 185, is the oldest known supernova recorded by humankind. Death by supernova probably isn’t something we have to worry about in our lifetime, or our children’s or grandchildren’s or great-great-great-grandchildren’s lifetime. IK Pegasi, the closest candidate we have for a supernova, is 150 light-years away — too far to do any real damage to Earth (this is the point at which we must all cross your fingers, and squint for good measure, hoping that the scientists are right!).
Here's the Caprilicious version of a Supernova! Tiny golden seed beads have been embroidered around an agate slab nugget, along with black and clear AB coated crystal beads.
As you can imagine, it took ages to bead, and was all I could complete this week. I had my favourite Caprilicious woman and model come to stay over the weekend and we spent a couple of hours picking out jewellery for her to try on while I clicked away happily in the background.
This time, I thought I'd get her to show off some of my silver neck pieces. They are very different from the usual silver necklaces seen on other websites, and because of the silver, they have an intrinsic, investment value and are heirloom pieces that will hold their value in years to come.
Both of us enjoyed ourselves thoroughly - she changed outfits and make-up, sunglasses and hats went on and off, hair went up and down. She climbed nimbly onto chairs and stools so I could click pictures from different angles, and the photos turned out beautifully. Here are some of the best pictures from the one hundred photographs I snapped.
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place.
Hello folks, and how are you today? I've been ever so busy at the day job and the last few weeks have been ... well, challenging. Lots of drama - health issues, injuries, yadda-yadda-yadda, etc., etc. Mostly not me directly, but close enough to demand my concentration and attention. Still does, to a large extent, though I'm trying to hone my multitasking skills. I'm not going to bore you with the details because, heck, who wants to relive the sh!t? Not me! Caprilicious has been the one constant whose presence has maintained my sanity.
I decided to pick a project for the week that wouldn't be too challenging, yet occupy my time and hands each evening, soothing and undemanding.
The Daughter of Arctic Spring or Arctic Spring 2
Last week I made what I consider to be one of the most beautiful necklaces I have ever created, and it sold even before I had a chance to post it on the website. However, it was so complicated that even though I wanted to make another one, I couldn't bring myself to go through the pains of birthing a similar piece. Soothing and undemanding it certainly was not. So I made a smaller version of Arctic Spring - in the same colours, with similar beads, but omitting the lengthy central pendant. In my mind I called it The Daughter of Arctic Spring!
Czech glass dagger beads, in a moonstone AB finish were used instead of crystal teardrops and by the time I finished, I liked it very much. It is a smaller statement piece for someone who doesn't really want to wear a huge gong around their neck.
I am really looking for a calm and relaxing weekend - my first totally free one after having worked for three consecutive weekends. I have a friend coming to stay and we will relax together, lazing a couple of days away while I heal my battered psyche.
Excitingly, I've been contacted on Instagram by a fashion designer in India who is keen on a collaboration - I will be back there in February 2020 and we plan a little show at a couple of his boutiques and he's even planning another in London. I'll tell you more about it as the story unfolds, no more to say about it for now.
Just to say that the earrings on Caprilicious are still on sale till the 1st of August. Quite a few of them have been picked up, so it's now skates on time, if you want the pick of the bunch.
That's me for this week, folks.
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello, good people, it's lovely to talk to you again, and thank you so much for joining me. I've been working hard at the day job and was consequently looking forward to a weekend off, but alas, am having to work again due to sickness in the ranks. However, the weather report is good, so all is not doom and gloom.
I don't generally do sales, but I've found that I have too many earrings in my stash - quite a few were sold at the show at Leamington Spa, but I didn't have the room to display them all, and loads of them came back home with me, and they were most grumpy at being back in the large shoebox they currently live in. So just to give them a chance to be fostered to a good home, I've got them on sale till the 1st of August.
Idly flicking through channels on the TV, as you do when there's nothing interesting on, I saw a program about the Arctic Tundra. The Arctic is almost entirely covered by water, much of it frozen into glaciers and icebergs, and these are solidified freshwater. In fact, the glaciers and icebergs in the Arctic make up about 20% of Earth’s supply of freshwater. Most of the Arctic, however, is the liquid salt water of the Arctic ocean basin. Some parts of the ocean’s surface remain frozen all or most of the year. This frozen seawater is called sea ice which is often covered with a thick blanket of snow. The Arctic has the largest concentrations of mineral deposits – copper-nickel ore, platinum and rare earth metals, phosphorus, chromium, diamonds, silver, gold among others. In the spring, after the long, dark nights of winter, icicles melt and as the sun gets higher in the sky, the flowers of the Tundra begin to bloom, the majority of them are mosses, grasses, shrubs, and lichen, which grow close to the ground and can withstand the inhospitable climate. While I was researching this theme, I found a painting called Arctic Spring by a Swedish painter, Joacim Broström. His abstract of an Arctic Spring is beautiful, but made all the more interesting because he rarely uses paintbrushes, preferring instead to use household objects - pipette bottles, straws, toothpicks, plastic bags, and cardboard, among others.
So, this is my interpretation of an Arctic Spring
The pendant is a slice of agate, surrounded by a bezel of silvery seed beads and AB coated crystals, tipped with tiny seed beads in pink and green. The bail is a long strip of woven silver beads, dripping with silvery 'icicles', their tips melting into crystal teardrops. There are a few Czech marguerite flowers in pink and pale green, to signify the pink saxifrage which is the very first flower that comes up in the spring. The necklace is made of quartz shards, delicately colour enhanced in a pale pink and green. It is meant to be worn close to the neck so that the pendant gets maximum visibility.
I was so pleased that it was picked up a couple of hours after I posted it on instagram by one of my regular customers. The lady in question will wear it beautifully I'm sure, and get a great deal of pleasure from it.
By the time I'd finished Arctic Spring, my fingertips were sore and I had no mojo left, so that's me for this week. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.